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The DMZ’s news roundup: What went down in April

News Roundup

Tag Archives: pockethealth

The DMZ’s news roundup: What went down in April

The federal government unveiled their budget, American investors are flocking to Canadian tech, and our newest tech startups — this is your monthly DMZ news roundup.


Power up with the DMZ’s News Roundup. Our new blog series is dedicated to providing you with a quick look back on what went down in the Canadian startup and innovation ecosystem.

We’ve got you covered with the most relevant news and notable wins from the ecosystem, DMZ updates and more. 

Here’s a rundown of what went down in April. 

INDUSTRY NEWS

How the Federal budget will impact the startup and innovation economy

The federal government unveiled their long-awaited budget for 2022, which outlines a number of commitments for the Canadian tech and innovation economy. The first budget since the Liberal’s re-election last fall, the 2022 budget focuses on growing the Canadian economy while aiming to make everyday life more affordable. Big ticket commitments include a new innovation and investment agency, a growth fund to encourage private sector investments and a commitment to build a world-class intellectual property regime. 

Read more here.

Canadian innovation companies come to a halt on TSX

In the first quarter of 2022, there was not a single Canadian innovation company that went public via an initial public offering (IPO) on the Toronto Stock Exchange. 2021 saw a record breaking year for IPOs, with seven companies going public in the first quarter alone. 

Learn more here.

New report shares gender biases women founders face in raising capital

A recent study from the Conference Board of Canada found that compared to men, women take longer to raise Series A financing. Marie Chevrier Schwartz, Founder and CEO of Sampler (DMZV), shares her experiences raising capital and the gender bias she faced with Betakit.

Check out her interview here.

STARTUP NEWS

PocketHealth closes $20M CAD Series A financing to transform medical image access

PocketHealth (Incubator ‘18), a patient-centric medical image sharing platform, has secured $20M CAD in Series A funding led by healthcare venture capital firm Questa Capital. PocketHealth will be expanding its talent base, building U.S and Canadian clinical partnerships and invest in product innovation. 

Read more here.

U.S investors are pumping cash into Canadian enterprise tech startups

U.S venture-capital investors raised a record $13.6B USD last year in Canadian information-technology startups. In recent years, Google, Microsoft, Intel, and Uber have opened or expanded offices and research-and-development campuses in thriving tech hubs such as Toronto and Vancouver. In turn, this has fostered a homegrown pool of skilled tech workers that is becoming increasingly scarce in the U.S. More than half of all Toronto-area venture-capital deals have included at least one American investor.

Learn more here.

DMZ NEWS

12 tech startups that are disrupting the Canadian tech ecosystem – Meet the DMZ’s Incubator spring cohort 

Out of hundreds of the high-calibre startup founders that applied from Canada and around the world, the DMZ has hand-picked 12 tech companies to join a new 18-month cohort in the Incubator. This cohort has startups joining from Vancouver, Canada to Budapest, Hungary, across diverse industries like logistics, insurtech, fintech, proptech, and more.

Check out the tech companies here

Looking for more startup ecosystem news and DMZ updates? Subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter to stay in the know here

How PocketHealth is fueling healthcare innovation, attracting investment and scaling company growth despite COVID-19

PocketHealth’s patient-centric product introduces a new way of thinking in healthcare and has been instrumental in keeping hospital departments afloat during the current COVID-19 crisis.


The company recently announced a $9.2M raise in funding – while it seems hard to believe a startup could be pursuing growth and attracting investment in this environment, PocketHealth isn’t at all surprised that demand has skyrocketed.

Healthcare institutions have traditionally been slow to embrace innovation. However, Rishi Nayyar, Co-Founder & CEO of PocketHealth, explains that many have had no choice but to adopt new technology in hopes of relieving burdens on resources.

PocketHeath has completely modernized how sensitive medical imaging is shared between hospitals, imaging clinics, doctors and patients. The platform has stopped patients from making unnecessary hospital trips and being exposed to potential risk, and given institutions more resources to deal with COVID-19 screening and other related activities.

We caught up with Rishi to pass along our congratulations on the company’s raise and to learn what’s next in store for the company given the news – which includes big plans to scale.

Check out our Q&A with Rishi below.

Tell us about how you and your brother co-founded this business together.

The idea for PocketHealth began with a simple experience that my brother, Harsh, had while he was working in the Bay Area in Silicon Valley. He was playing tennis and sprained his ankle quite badly. He was required to get an MRI and an X-ray, and when he was done with that MRI, he was handed two CD-ROMs.

The thought of receiving CDs back then, which was in the mid-2010s, was quite absurd – especially considering the work he was doing in the Valley. At that time, he was an early engineer at a startup that eventually got acquired by Google. He was working on app virtualization: streaming large quantities of data to mobile devices all around the world, gigabytes of data. Meanwhile, in healthcare, hospitals and imaging centres had these small image files being placed on a CD-ROM to give to a patient. This patient was, by definition, sick. They’d have to come to the hospital, pick up the CD-ROM and then drop it off at their doctor’s office to continue their care. Harsh thought, why is this a primary way that imaging records are released? That’s something that stuck with him. He called me and said, “Look, this is a problem and we can build the tech to solve it.”

Time passed. The startup he was working at got acquired by Google. He eventually left Google and I left my job where I was working in banking. We saw an opportunity to create a cloud platform that would completely change the healthcare industry, and that’s when we started PocketHealth.

Can you tell us more about PocketHealth’s product?

PocketHealth is a cloud platform that allows hospitals and imaging clinics to share imaging records virtually with patients, physicians, and other hospitals and clinics. From the patient’s perspective, PocketHealth allows them to access and control their medical imaging records in the palm of their hand, in full diagnostic quality, and then share it with any physician in the world – instantly.

What has PocketHealth’s journey looked like since graduating in 2018?

The DMZ helped us ensure we had the systems in place to grow responsibly. We were surrounded by companies at the same stage of growth, and we were able to learn from these companies and the mentors. When we hit hyper-growth upon graduating, we were prepared.

We grew our product scope, significantly enabling hospitals to not just share with patients, but to also receive imaging inwards. Those products made a great impact in the market. It allowed us to grow our client base significantly – to the scale we’re at today.

In the early days of this pandemic, did you have any worry that it could negatively affect your company?

No, we knew from the beginning, especially working in health care, that COVID-19 would dramatically increase demand for PocketHealth. Burning CDs was no longer an option. COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the need for hospitals and clinics to modernize the way they share medical imaging. There are still patients who need imaging, who need to undergo diagnosis, who need treatment, and they require a copy of their exam to further their care. However, requiring patients to come on-site to pick up a CD is just not possible anymore.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic increased the demand for a product like PocketHealth?

We’re having Directors of medical imaging and CEOs of hospitals calling us saying, “We needed this yesterday”. We’ve increased the number of sites deploying on our platform by over 300 percent monthly as imaging clinics and hospitals across North America grapple with this problem.

We’ve been advantaged: one, we have a product that is extremely strong in the market and is patient-centric, and two, we’re built for rapid deployment. We’ve been able to go live at a hospital in days or even hours. From an I.T. perspective, it’s unheard of – to completely switch how you perform a job function or a data-release function in such a short amount of time.

It was recently announced that PocketHealth secured $6.5 million USD ($9.2 million CAD) in funding. What does this first round of funding mean for the company?

This capital will allow us to scale our team significantly. We are hiring across all teams: customer success, sales, marketing and engineering. We’re hiring a mission-driven team to achieve our expansion goals. We want to reach out to the millions of patients that we haven’t touched yet, as well as thousands of hospitals and clinics where we aren’t deployed yet.

What does the future look like for PocketHealth? What are the company’s next milestones?

We’re trying to attract top talent in all of our roles who care about the problem that we’re trying to solve. We know that we have a platform that is unique in the market, that has this amazing ability to resonate with patients and with the providers. We’re driven to expand PocketHealth beyond the scope where it already is. We’ve been able to get this far as a mission-driven, but bootstrapped, company. We’re excited to see what the next phase brings. We think it will bring more patient centricity, more patients who are empowered and involved in their care, and hospital departments that aren’t burdened with the inefficiencies of slow and outdated imaging release systems.

We have some exciting deployments outside of our traditional geographic markets that will be announced soon. This is definitely a global issue. We know that patients’ desires to be in touch with what’s going on in their bodies are universal. It transcends geographic and political boundaries. The product and infrastructure we’ve built it on is designed to scale globally very quickly.

What advice would you have for founders who are riding out the current pandemic?

Focus on the fundamentals. If you’re around right now, there is some value to your product. In bull markets, there can be a tendency to run a lot of experiments and expand your scope beyond your typical value proposition, but I would advise you to get to the basics. Think about why people purchase your product. How does it make them feel? How does it change their lives? Double down on that. That’s where you’re going to get the highest return. Look inwardly and create a focal point for your team to work towards. That will give you the best shot of weathering this storm ahead.

If you have the skillset to help PocketHealth advance their mission, they want to hear from you! Take a look at PocketHealth’s website to learn about the benefits of working for this high-growth company and the current job openings available.

Questions? Let us know at dmz@ryerson.ca

Meet the healthtech startup bringing medical imaging into the future

Harsh Nayyar always knew he wanted to create something that could change the world.

Little did the former Google engineer know that a sprained ankle would one day inspire him, and his brother-slash-co-founder Rishi Nayyar, to build a digital health platform that would revolutionize how medical imaging records are shared in Ontario.

The entrepreneur’s journey all started back in 2013 when he injured himself while working in Silicon Valley. After seeing his doctor, he was forced to hobble back and forth between the centre — where his x-ray scans were taken — and his physician’s office. The outdated process was the only way he could share the CD given to him that contained images his doctor needed It was a frustrating experience.

“I knew there had to be a better way,” he explained. “For someone like me, it’s not that big of an issue but if you think about chronically ill people who need to go back-and-forth to get their images, it’s a lot because some specialists won’t even see [patients] without their images.”

Enter: PocketHealth

 
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How it works

 
The duo’s platform, launched in 2016, acts like a high-tech DropBox. It can seamlessly connect to any medical imaging centre’s system and automatically upload patient’s records. The data is then stored online for easy-access anytime, anywhere. The platform links two medical systems — the institutions that perform scans and the doctors that use them — in a way that wasn’t possible before.

The technological breakthrough has changed things not only for patients but for the professionals who use them. Patients no longer have to travel between different offices for their records and can easily share them with other specialists. Meanwhile, medical professionals can access their patient’s images directly from their clinic’s electronic medical record systems.  It’s a  massive improvement over booting up a CD for every patient.

“Historically in healthcare, it’s been very difficult for disparate systems to speak to one another,” Rishi explains.

“That’s how solutions like CDs became the common language between, for example, a hospital imaging department and a patient’s orthopaedic surgeon. Knowing that we focused on building that same interoperability into PocketHealth. The end result is a flexible platform that can pull data from an imaging centre and send it to any authenticated patient, who can then share with any caregiver they wish,” he adds.
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Changing the industry

 
PocketHealth couldn’t come at a better time. Healthcare costs in Canada are on the rise. Technology that eliminates medical delays could free up public funds or even save lives by helping doctors diagnose patients faster.

Since starting, PocketHealth has signed thousands of patients, integrated with nearly 100 imaging centers and partnered with institutions, like St. Michael’s Hospital.

“We were in a position before where we wanted to build something and make an impact,” says Harsh. “We started [PocketHealth] by just looking at how the medical imaging space works in Canada and went from there.”

In a little under a year and a half, the startup has grown tremendously. From a pilot project in a single clinic to seeing thousands of medical images added to their platform every day. Both brothers credit their hard work and experience from previous jobs for the company’s rapid success.

Rishi, who worked for Citigroup’s corporate and investment banking division, learned how to turn their idea into a sustainable company. Harsh’s former position at video and imaging software firm Agawi, before it was acquired by Google, gave him the technical skills to create the platform.

Next steps

 
The Nayyar brothers are keen to see where the business goes next but most excited about how they’re helping patients. “We see PocketHealth today as the first step towards a reality where patients are empowered to access their entire health record and become truly informed advocates for their own care,” adds Rishi.

.@PocketHealth is putting health advocacy back into the hands of patients